A market can be defined as an actual or nominal place where buyers and sellers interact to trade goods and services, and where the forces of demand and supply operate. It also includes potential customers. Therefore, identifying a new market can be defined as a process where a company identifies new opportunities and places to trade its products.

Developments in technology and an increasingly interconnected commercial landscape have changed the way companies identify new markets. Customer relationship management systems are increasingly using technology to organize, synchronize and automate business practices, including market identification. Technological advancements have provided ways to identify consumer sub-segments and market opportunities with greater precision and sensitivity than before.

This is a shift from the traditional approach where the process of identifying new markets relied on the company’s past results, gut instinct and brainstorming with executives and subject-matter experts within the company.

1. Data Analytics

Data is increasingly becoming an important asset in the modern business world and companies can use the data to identify new markets. Increased volumes of data have resulted in the advent of ‘Big Data’, that is, data sets that can be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations. With developments in cloud computing, companies can store large volumes of data affordably and efficiently. More than that, they can also take the data and perform dynamic queries and analyses that yield real-time results.

This means that for a company to be able to identify new markets using data collected, it will need to invest in trained and competent data analysts. As data becomes more and more difficult to break down and contextualize, the analysis of it is becoming more sophisticated. Hence the need for highly trained analysts. The data analysts can then track data collected and the data can be used to generate useful consumer insight. Through the mining of ‘Big Data’, companies can develop insights and identify lucrative markets that represent untapped opportunities for growth.

‘Big Data’ offers the potential to identify new markets and micro markets, opportunities for completely new products, and scope for personalization and customization in existing and new markets. Deep analytical capabilities give sales and marketing leaders a better way to make decisions, especially regarding the identification and entrance into new markets.

2. New Media

Companies can also use new media technologies to identify new markets. These technologies include social media networks, websites and blogs. They are accessible through any digital device with Internet connection and that would come in handy in this age of the Internet of things where many devices are inter-connected and where devices are becoming more portable.

One major feature of the new media technologies is that they provide user interaction and dialogue between users. Companies can capitalize on social media platforms to interact with existing and potential customers. Some social media networks provide platforms where companies can display products, including videos, photos and descriptions. The companies can then get feedback from consumers regarding the products and gather useful information about customer preferences. They can also track locations where their products are being promoted and inquired about more.

Truly understanding consumers involves not only collecting quantitative data (numbers) but also collecting qualitative data, such as comments. Through sentiment analysis, companies can learn more about what consumers think of their products and in the process identify new opportunities for growth. Customer feedback is pertinent in identifying new markets and companies should strive to provide multiple channels for the feedback and inquiries.

There are also business-oriented social networking services that companies can use to identify new markets. These services have members who include executives, business owners and subject matter experts across various sectors. Companies can leverage such services and connect with professionals who can provide key insights and share market developments. There are also community groups within such social networking services, where companies can join and learn meaningful perspectives, share market insights, and identify and validate market opportunities.

Online media tracking tools can also be useful in identifying new markets. Through these tools, companies can find timely, relevant and actionable news and information available on the Internet. All a company needs is to do is program the tool to track issues that are pertinent to the company, such as changes in legislation, market demand or competitor developments. Once the tracking system picks up any new information online, the system will alert the company. This can be useful in helping the company identify new opportunities and markets.

Company websites can also help provide information that would be useful to the company in helping identify new markets. Companies can create and track specific web activities, including free downloads, online video content, and online video presentations. Navigation patterns can also be useful in knowing customer preferences. Other metrics that can be monitored include clicks, responses, leads, deals and revenue. All that information can help companies tailor their marketing and sales efforts to specifically reach the segment of population that will most likely buy their products.

Companies can also use blogs to continually monitor target markets’ external environment (including the competitors, economic system, political and legal system) and track changes which may affect the attractiveness and viability of the products they are intending to trade on.

3. An Innovative Corporate Culture

Creating a corporate culture that makes room for innovation across the entire company’s workforce will go a long way in helping identify new markets. The process of identifying new markets should not be a preserve of the sales and marketing department, but rather it should be a responsibility of the entire workforce. Company leaders should strive to create work area environments that encourage a wild flow of ideas. Employees who come up with ideas that end up spurring the company’s growth should be recognized, and if possible, awarded. Those whose ideas fail should not be punished but rather their efforts should be recognized. This would help the company identify new opportunities from a wider pool of employees and breed a culture of innovation within the company.

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